When it comes to your daily workouts, sometimes it can be a struggle just to get out of bed. But what you shouldn’t struggle with is being comfortable, no matter your activity, and that means having a pair of the best ankle socks you can find.
People underestimate how well a pair of socks can help them in their exercise routines, but you’ll discover in this article just how important they can be. So forget having wet, smelly feet or blisters on your toes and heels. It’s time to take a look at the best low cut socks in the market, and the features you should be looking for when you’re out shopping.
The Importance of Material
You may think that you can go to any sporting goods store and pick up any ankle socks you find for the right price. But there’s a lot of effort being put into the materials these socks are made from, as they all provide different benefits to wearers, one of which is preventing your feet from getting stinky.
With over 200,000 sweat glands in the feet alone, you can see why this problem is a major concern for those who enjoy working out. So how do you determine which material is right for you?
Wool socks were once something people turned away from, but Merino wool has made all of the difference in the world. The fibers are so fine that the wool isn’t itchy, making it a very popular choice for those who have problems keeping their feet warm.
Merino wool helps you to regulate the temperature of your feet, and therefore the rest of your body, so you’re always comfortable regardless of the weather outside. It’s also a very moisture-wicking material, capable of absorbing as much as 30 percent of its weight in water. That leaves your feet feeling much drier in almost all conditions.
It also provides cushioning to the feet, so even after hitting the pavement for a while on a run, your feet won’t ache as much as you’re used. Two drawbacks to Merino wool, however, is that it does take a bit longer for it to fully dry, and it is a bit more expensive than the more common socks you’ll find on the market.
Manufacturers usually combine a variety of materials in order to create a sock that has better fit and provides more comfort. The most commonly used materials are nylon and Lycra, as they can retain their shape much more easily, provide a snug fit, and have excellent arch support, which is important for those who go on long walks or runs.
Polyester and certain acrylics are also used to help wick away moisture to keep the feet dry and prevent blisters from occurring. Synthetic materials dry very quickly, so they’re ready to wear as soon as they’re out of the dryer.
However, they’re not very comfortable when worn in very hot conditions. Their insulating ability is reduced in the off-chance that they get wet, so they’re not the best choice if you get caught in the rain.
You may have not heard of Ingeo, but it’s a corn-based polyactic acid fiber that is similar to polyester, but is considered to be a more environmentally-friendly choice, since it’s not a petroleum-based product. So this is a great alternative to those who are interested in saving the environment.
And because it’s made from a renewable resource, these socks are highly recyclable. That means you don’t have to dump them in the garbage when you’re done with them. However, it can only be commercially composted, so your area might not be capable of handling this kind of material.
It has also proven to be great at wicking away moisture and controlling the odours your feet produce, but it’s not as durable as other fabrics, so they might wear out more quickly after only a few workouts. That means replacing them a little more often than you’re used to.
Considered to be the finest and softest material to wear against your skin, silk is actually very good at keeping the body insulated. It’s very good at wicking away moisture to keep your feet dry, and the feeling against your skin is simply divine.
Be aware that silk can be a bit pricier, however, and it’s not as durable as other fabrics. Also, silk socks aren’t something you can just throw into the wash; silk requires special cleaning treatments that may not seem worth it to those who have busy schedules throughout their days or not a lot of money to spend on the care it needs.
The most common material to be found in all kinds of clothing, cotton socks are actually not the best choice in active wear, and should be avoided. It absorbs and traps sweat in the fabric, and with its inability to dry quickly, your feet will feet gross throughout your workout.
The trapped sweat also promotes the growth of the bacteria that’s responsible for stinky feet, as well as the fungus that causes Athlete’s foot. Cotton socks can be expensive and comfortable, but should be kept out of your exercise routine.
Important Features to Look For
There’s a lot of ingenuity put into socks that help your feet feeling their best. They’re simply not just a shaped material you pull on to separate your feet from the insides of your sneakers. When it comes to your daily exercise, certain features have been built in in order for you to focus more on your workout and worry less about the pain in your feet.
- Padding: well-built socks should have padding in the heel and the ball of the foot for cushioning and protection. These are the areas of the foot that seem to suffer the most, especially for runners, so it’s important that you help to alleviate them from the pressure of running or walking as much as possible. This padding is added by increasing the weave of the materials in these key areas so that there’s more fabric between your feet and your shoe.
- Arch support: fallen arches are always painful, and it can take a lot of time out of your week to recover. That means less time working out and more time feeling lazy. Instead, look for socks with reinforced weave in the arch of your socks for added support. This is especially great for those who have high arches, as this kind of sock prevents plantar fasciitis, which can result in severe pain in your heels.
- Fit: just as you’d try on sneakers to see how well they fit you, the fit of your socks is just as important. It might not be enough to just look at the size of the sock; if you can, try them on and see if they fit in the toe and the heel. A sock that’s too long will end up bunching around your toes, while a too-short sock will get lost in your shoe and feel too tight. Padded socks should be tried on with the shoes you intend to wear them with to determine if the fit will be too tight or not.
Not all exercise ankle socks are built the same, as some of them cater to certain interests and activity levels.
Because of this, socks are structured in certain ways to help you with whatever activity you’re engaged in so you can enjoy it even more instead of suffering.
- Running: look for socks that focus on wicking away moisture, such as those made from synthetic materials. This way, you can avoid Athlete’s foot and smelly feet. Change your socks as soon as they are wet.
- Hiking: hikers have a much wider range of options to choose from, considering the varying levels of intensity involved in the activity. For short hikes, prioritize socks that are lightweight and will wick away moisture over comfort. Long hikes require you to invest more attention to padding and keeping your feet warm.
- Cycling: socks should be thin to remove the moisture from your feet and reduce friction between your skin and your shoes. Forget the extra padding for now, as cycling is not a very impact sport when it comes to the feet.
And that’s that! Now that you’re aware of what you should be looking for on your own, here are some great products to give you a running head start to finding a pair that’s perfect for you.
Reviews of the Top Ankle Socks
Balega Hidden Comfort Running Sock
Material: Drynamix Polyester 84%, Polyamide Nylon 14%, Elastique 2%
Specific Features: Seamless toe closure; heel tab helps to keep your sock in place, new and improved elastane, reinforced heel and toe, mesh construction for ventilation, sole cushioning, available in 15 colours.
Best for: Running, walking, indoor exercises.
If you want to add a little colour to your life, then these are the perfect socks for you. With so many colours to choose from, you’ll have a hard time buying just one pair.
The Hidden Comfort sock provides plush cushioning along the sole of your foot so your feet are protected from the harsh pounding against the pavement under your feet. Less blisters means you get to work out even more each day a week.
And the unique blend of their Drynamix polyester, polyamide nylon and elastique help to keep your feet dry, so you won’t have to worry about bad odours emanating from your shoes or the presence of foot fungus. The mesh construction also helps your feet to breathe by allowing air in so your feet are always at their optimal temperature.
Saucony Men’s Performance Socks
Material: 95% Polyester, 3% Rubber, 2% Spandex
Specific Features: Airmesh venting, available in six pack (three grey and three colourful options), machine washable, RunDry moisture management, arch support, cushioned sole.
Best for: Running.
Saucony’s socks were designed with runners in mind. They know the products they’re looking for, and are interested ensuring that they continue to be satisfied customers.
That’s why these socks cater to solving the problems that runners face. Sweaty feet? The Airmesh venting and RunDry moisture management were designed to combat just that. The venting allows cool air in warm air out, while the moisture-wicking properties remove the sweat to keep your feet comfortable.
Painful heels? The soles of these socks have extra padding to proved protection to this vital part of your feet. Plantar fasciitis? These performance socks have arch support to keep it stable and secure; you’ll never have to worry about fallen arches ever again.
James Fiallo Men’s Athletic Socks
Material: 85% Polyester 15% Spandex
Specific Features: available in 6 pack or 12 pack (with a wide variety of colour options to choose from), fits shoe sizes 6-12, cushioned sole, moisture-wicking.
Best for: Running
These socks were designed to last, and are available in a wide range of colour options, you might end up buying more than one. Six packs are available with different pack colour options, while the twelve packs comes with two pairs of each colour you choose.
The cushioned sole helps to protect your feet from the abuse of running on pavement, and the synthetic materials help to wick moisture away. Some customers have stated that even after three months, these socks held up pretty well, even after constant use, but one drawback is the availability of sizes. For those with larger feet, they’re going to have to look somewhere else.
PUMA Men’s Quarter Cut Socks
Material: 90% Polyester, 7% Cotton, 3% Spandex
Specific Features: available in black, grey and white, machine washable, moisture control, arch support, cushioned sole.
Best for: Running
With a history of supplies sporting goods to athletic teams all over the world, you know that these are socks you can trust. These quarter cut socks are obscure enough with your sneakers that no one’s going to snicker at your style.
And they’re available in colours that go with just about any running outfit. The synthetic materials will help your feet to stay dry and cool, and they’ll feel their best with the arch support and cushioned soles protecting them from the punishment of your workouts.
Women’s Thick Padded Socks
Material: 88% Exclusive THOR•LON® acrylic, 10% nylon, 2% spandex
Specific Features: Maximum cushioning for feet, durable, moisture wicking, machine washable.
Best for: Intense running, short hikes.
If you’re looking to protect your feet as much as possible, the the Thorlos Original is the one to go with. These socks are clinically tested over and over again in order to ensure that your feet are only getting the best. Maximum cushioning is provided to the balls and heels of your feet to spare them from aches, blisters, corns and damage to the underlying tissues and bones.
They do this with their unique THOR•LON fibre that is durable, resilient, and is super soft against the skin. They are so confident in their product that if you’re not comfortable wearing these socks, you can return them for your full money back.
ASICS Women’s Tab Socks
Material: 88% Nylon, 8% Polyester, 4% Spandex
Specific Features: five assorted colour choices, come in packs of three, moisture-wicking, ultra lightweight, seamless toe for greater comfort, breathable, arch support, ankle fit minimizes irritation.
Best for: Light running
This three-pack includes bright colours that you’ll love to show off while you’re out on a run. But they don’t only look great, they feel great on your feet as well. The moisture-wicking and breathability features help to keep your feet dry and at the right temperature, so you don’t have to worry about your socks feeling gross on your feet.
The seamless toe will keep the sock in place, and the arch support will minimize the risks of plantar fasciitis, so you can keep running for much longer. Their light weight also reduces the strain on your ankles so you can burn calories from your exercise instead of being weighed down.
Thirty48 Running Socks
Material: 33% CoolMax, 27% Cotton, 30% Nylon, 8% Polyester, 2% Lycra
Specific Features: nine colour options, padding on the metatarsal, Achilles, and heel, CoolMax fabric, heel tab so it’s easy to take socks on and off, CatalystAF Design that promotes air flow.
Best for: Running, Tennis, Outdoor Sports
Feeling like an athlete doesn’t require you training for months or even years on end. All it takes is one pair of these socks to feel the superior technology that goes into making them great.
Padding is provided in key areas to ensure that the soles of your feet are fully protected, so you’re less likely to soak your feet for hours on end just to get some relief. The CatalystAF Design keep your feet dry and cool, while the CoolMax fabric will remove any moisture from your skin.
The bright colour options allow you to pick and choose pairs that will fit your style, accessorize your outfit, or make you more visible when you’re running in the late evenings. Add to that the fact that these socks are designed to mold and shape themselves to your feet to promote muscle strength and movement, and you’re ready to tackle any challenge in your path.
To Wrap it Up
Even with all your gear in place, it’s important that you don’t neglect the kind of socks you wear. Not all socks are made the same way, and having uncomfortable ones can really make the difference as to whether you’ll enjoy your workout or not. So why not invest in a pair that will help you to stay motivated every step of the way? There’s not really much to lose, especially with how affordable many of the pairs mentioned above are.
Did you enjoy any of the products mentioned? Have a few of your own you’d like to share with us? Please do so in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.